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Time (xkcd)

The meaning of «time (xkcd)»

"Time" is the 1,190th strip of Randall Munroe's webcomic xkcd. Beginning with a single frame published at midnight on March 25, 2013, the image was updated every 30 minutes until March 30, 2013, and then every hour for 118 days (123 days in total), ending on July 26 with a total of 3,099 unique images.[1] Each image represented a single frame in a larger story.

The strip's story, set 11,000 years in the future in the basin of the Mediterranean Sea during a supposed recurrence of the Zanclean flood, features two characters journeying uphill to discover where the rising water is originating. By the end of the story, the characters return home to save their people. Described by Glen Tickle of Geekosystem as Munroe's "magnum opus", "Time" attracted significant attention and was well received online; several projects, wikis and web communities were built about it. In 2014, it won the Hugo Award in the Best Graphic Story category.

"Time" begins with two stick figures, a woman and a man, building a sand castle complex on a beach. The woman notes that the sea (visible on the right side of the frame) is rising. After construction is completed, and after temporarily stopping the sea from eroding the castle away, the two decide to go on a journey to discover the cause behind the rising sea level. As they leave, the frames slowly fade to white, as the rising water begins to destroy the castle.

The two journey out, finding a river that they were unaware of; the couple follow the river and make observations as they go. While resting under a tree, the man finds the remains of a campsite, discovering that the area they were in had been inhabited. Later, they find another campsite and massive, oddly shaped trees with markings on one. They find a decrepit boat they could use to cross the river, but continue up into the mountains. While climbing a small hill, the man sees a snake and tumbles down on the woman. Further on, they hear chirping in a tree, and pause briefly to observe a bird and its chick in a nest. While resting at a miniature river, the woman discovers that they are on the cliff of a large waterfall. After contemplating it, they decide to discover what the mountains are like.

They climb up and eventually reach a small abandoned house. While there, the man is attacked by a big cat, which the woman routs with a piece of wood. The man is unscathed, but the woman sustains a wound to her leg, which they wrap with a flag brought from when they were creating the sand castle. They decide that traveling in search of people towards the top of the mountain (where they see a structure) would be a better medical option than heading back home, so they continue towards the mountaintops. As night falls, they rest in the wild. The man takes the first guard shift, and the stars in the night sky time-lapse behind him. He wakes the woman to take his turn to sleep. When he eventually wakes up, the two characters press on with the intention of turning back if they do not find people.

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